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People Gain Employment

When I joined the choir I had been looking for a job for 6 years. When I heard about the Wish List program I thought, ‘Perfect! I will be able to get some help to find a job’. At my second rehearsal I asked for help to improve my resume and for employment. A fellow choir member came up to me straight away and volunteered his time to help me improve my resume, and the choir gave me the confidence to persevere in searching for work. Six months later I had found a job in a call centre. Unfortunately the job came to an end eight weeks later. I came to choir the following Tuesday at the Sofitel and announced I had lost my job. I could not stop crying. I was introduced to a lady who had come to choir to see what it was all about. She said she might be able to help me with some voluntary work. When I did call her in early February 2015, she said “Sure, I can help you. And by the way, it isn’t going to be voluntary work; I’m going to pay you.” This is the longest I’ve ever been in a job for. It’s been more than 15 months and I’m loving it!” Annabel, With One Voice Melbourne

“I moved to Melbourne due to personal reasons and was having trouble finding work and also finding social activities. I’ve always loved singing, so when a friend recommended With One Voice Melbourne to me, I was delighted and immediately began attending.

To my surprise, I realised that WOVM had a structure in place to help people with any challenges they may be facing in life – the Wish List program. Through the choir and other channels my social life was quickly blooming, but work eluded me still.

I had worked for six years in a residential aged care facility in Canberra, and I have a degree in science and communications. I had known for some time I wanted to continue working in the aged care sector, but using my communications skill rather than my more practical experience.

Choir had become a core part of my life, both creatively and socially, though I was looking for work elsewhere. Every week or two I would make my wish to find a job in aged care known to the choir. One day, out of the blue, I was informed that someone new was looking for an employee. They had heard about me through the Wish List program. We got into contact and gelled magnificently. I now work for them as a communications assistant in a not-for-profit that advocates for older Australians.

My family often comments how perfect the fit is, and I agree. Thanks, With One Voice!” Stefan, With One Voice Melbourne

“If a choir member is in need of something, they have only to voice their wish at choir and another choir member can grant it. An example of this is that when I joined One Voice Melbourne in February this year, I wished for some help with my CV and a part-time job as an administration assistant. Immediately a fellow choir member offered to have a look at my CV. I have now also found a part-time job.” Annabel, With One Voice Melbourne

“I joined With One Voice Melbourne in October 2012 and attended until after our big performances at the Melbourne Town Hall and also for the corporate dinner at the Sofitel in December. When I first joined MS my wish was to secure a job. This was particularly important to me given that I had just moved over from Tasmania, with all the personal belongings I could fit into my car, and filled with hope and confidence in my skills and experience to get a great job.

During those few months at With One Voice Melbourne I was most impressed by the friendship, support and encouragement of its members in helping me to strive for this goal. However, despite their efforts and mine, (sent out over 300 applications over a five month period) I was not able to get a job. One week ago I was thinking I would have to return to Tasmania, with my tail between my legs but, low and behold, I secured a position as a Training Facilitator with a registered training organisation. I start in mid-April.

I am writing to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to all those people at With One Voice Melbourne who supported and encouraged me. In particular Peter, Liz, and George – my very sincere thanks. It finally paid off… my wish came true! My sincere thanks also to you Tania and the team at Creativity Australia for offering to subsidise my fees for a period so that I could still attend choir and not miss out because of my circumstances. That was a generous gesture for which I am very grateful.

I now hope to be back singing with With One Voice Melbourne later in April and look forward to rejoining all those lovely warm and supportive people.” Neeta, member of With One Voice Melbourne

“I am Hui (Cherry), a With One Voice Melbourne choir member and I was an International Student. I am writing to thank you and the choir for giving me a very good opportunity to get my current job! I was a new graduate with not much working experience in Australia, and pretty worried about how to get my first job here. I applied for so many jobs, without success.

Just when I was wondering and hesitating, I received an email from Creativity Australia telling me there was a job opportunity advertised by a member in choir in their company. I applied for it but did not expect much at first. After two weeks, I got a telephone interview from that company and I passed through. When talking about my interest during the second round interview, the interviewer and I found that we were both choir members! Then we talked a lot and he began to understand the difficulties that an overseas student faced in job hunting, and said he would like to help me and provide me an opportunity to prove myself. So, I got the job!

Currently I am working in their company [Amdocs] and he is my boss – Rajarshi Chakravorty. I have to say it is you and the choir that gives me chances to get to know so many nice people. I sincerely appreciate all your help in the choir, which has not only brought us a happy, harmonious and passionate atmosphere which can relieve us from stressful work and study, but also provided us many good job opportunities that are just so helpful! I really feel honored and lucky to join this choir, thank you very much!’’ Hui (Cherry), member of With One Voice Melbourne

“My name is Thilini Fernando, I am 26 years old, and I came to Australia from Sri Lanka in May this year. I came here to stay with my Uncle, my mother’s brother, and to study childcare. I live with my uncle, his wife and two girl cousins. Ranuka, who is in the choir and also Sri Lankan, told my aunt about the choir, and I was very interested to hear about it because I love to sing. I went along to the choir, and I loved it! The choir is now a big part of my life – they are like family to me, and are always so encouraging and helpful.

I was given the opportunity to sing a solo in the choir, and they helped me believe that I could do it. People in the choir also helped me to get a job. Chris helped me with my application for Holmesglen TAFE where I am studying for a Certificate III in Childcare, and let me know how I could get casual work as a childcare worker through the council. Shaun the conductor also helped by being a referee for me, and I now work there part time. Since joining the choir I have asked my two cousins to come along as well, and they love it as much as me.” Thilini Fernando, With One Voice Greater Dandenong

“Quizon has completed his training program for the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment Qualification. He is already a highly competent teacher with great experiences from his home country, The Philippines, and has demonstrated his strong capabilities during the APCOT course. It is very satisfying to be able to provide him with an Australian qualification that will be highly instructive in helping him to gain teaching/training employment in Australia. All thanks in the end to the great work you are doing with the community choir, I’m so glad we’ve been able to connect!” Gabrielle Hartin, who joined With One Voice Melbourne and decided to offer a scholarship to a migrant to obtain an Australian qualification

“The choir is an escape for me. To open my heart, to be relaxed, happy and forget about all the problems. It’s an open door that you can only see flowers in front and be happy. Enjoy the perfume of the song. The choir really had an important role in my confidence. The diversity in the choir is really huge. Tania, Anton, Shaun… all of them were there for me. And when I got my job interview to prepare they gave me a hand to improve my confidence and to take that step it was really hard for me. I was so nervous, so emotional. I couldn’t believe I would have a job. Then I have the job. I say thanks to BSL, thanks to ANZ who recruited me and most importantly thanks to Tania [de Jong] for her support and all of the members of the choir.” Nathalie, from Cameroon, a member of With One Voice Melbourne

“They stand up for you when you’re in trouble, they can help you.  Or when you need to apply for a job.” Sarah, former Sudanese refugee and member of With One Voice Greater Dandenong

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